Bruins’ victory comes at a cost
This UCLA rotation is getting more intimate.
The fifth-ranked Bruins defeated Washington, 69-55, Thursday night in front of 11,421 at Pauley Pavilion. A rout seemed inevitable from midway through the first half, but that seemed inconsequential later when point guard Darren Collison clutched at his lower back and asked to be removed.
Collison, who sat out the first six games this season because of a sprained left knee and was briefly hospitalized Sunday because of food poisoning, spent the last 15 minutes on the bench holding an ice bag on what was initially diagnosed as a left hip contusion.
While fellow guard Russell Westbrook said that he expected Collison to play Saturday when UCLA (15-1, 3-0) plays host to fourth-ranked Washington State (14-0, 2-0), that seemed less likely when Collison said he thought teammate Michael Roll might beat him in a foot race. Roll is on crutches, trying to recover a second time from a ruptured foot tendon.
“It hurts when I’m walking,” Collison said half an hour after the game.
“It hurts a lot. I’m going to try to go, but I don’t know.”
Walking almost as slowly after the game as Collison was forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who had both knees swaddled in dripping ice bags and who walked with the limp of an arthritic old man.
“It was a very physical game tonight,” Howland said.
The Huskies (9-6, 0-2) trailed 54-32 with 14:31 left, but the Bruins lost offensive enthusiasm with Collison at the end of the bench. Center Kevin Love blew a chance at a layup by not catching a perfect pass from Russell Westbrook, who finished with a game-high 18 points. Mbah a Moute, who had 17 points, tossed up an airball hook shot in the final two minutes.
Collison said he bumped hips with Washington guard Ryan Appleby in the opening moments of the second half. Collison came out of the game once, with 18:04 left, came back in about three minutes later but spent less than a minute on the court before he raised his hand and took himself out.
Howland said both Collison and Mbah a Moute would receive treatment today. “We’ll know more tomorrow,” Howland said. “We’re saying it’s just a bruise for Darren, the same thing with Luc. Bruised right knee.”
Mbah a Moute said he expected to be ready Saturday.
Westbrook, who had four assists and three rebounds along with his 18 points, said this win was a credit to the defense. “That’s always our thing,” he said.
Howland was particularly pleased that Appleby, who was averaging 12 points and shooting 48.3% from three-point range, was held scoreless and took only two shots.
“The best thing we did was guard Appleby,” Howland said. “He doesn’t score, he’s a very good player, has really good range.”
Despite missing Tuesday’s practice because of the food poisoning, Collison started this game full of energy.
It was a Collison steal and his feed to Westbrook in the final five seconds that finished off the first half in style and helped the Bruins to a 41-23 halftime lead.
Collison had eight points and two assists and Mbah a Moute had 11 points at halftime.
As with many good times for UCLA, it was defense that triggered a 9-0 run two-thirds of the way through the half.
Westbrook’s dogged pressure on Appleby caused the flustered senior to commit two turnovers and a Lorenzo Mata-Real block of Jon Brockman resulted in a Bruins fastbreak basket -- Westbrook to Josh Shipp for the sedate layup instead of the showy dunk.
Shipp’s shot put UCLA ahead 21-12 and, after a timeout, Collison scored on a layup to give the Bruins their biggest lead of the game to that point, 23-12, with 7:11 left.
Brockman, the junior who is Washington’s leading scorer and rebounder, found the going rough inside. The 6-foot-7 forward, who leads the Pac-10 in rebounding with more than 11 a game, had four rebounds at halftime.
He was averaging 18.8 points a game and scored six. He eventually finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Bruins held Washington to 23-of-55 shooting (41.8%) and outrebounded the Huskies, 32-26